Undeniably, the Philippines is blessed with natural resources. Being one of the top 10 biologically mega-diverse countries, the nation has more than 100 mammal species and 170 bird species that are endemic to its territory – a zesty tourists lure. Its location in the pacific ring of fire made the Philippines a potential mega-producer of geothermal energy and being rich with strongly flowing water bodies, the country can produce as much as 13,426 MW of electricity – both are renewable energy sources. The Philippines is also the 5th mineralized country and with significantly abundant fossil fuel and natural gas reserves. But why despite all these, we are still at the bottom – the poor man of Asia? Who is the man to blame?
It is already a natural reaction among us Filipinos to pass the blame every time we got failures. The government, being at the top, receives all the reproach while the people, being the ones suffering, rebuke the government. The country is like an inverted pyramid wherein the president is nestled at the bottom, with all the pressure, to ensure the stability of the Republic. So the tendency is to blame the president of our uneasiness.
But we should also admit that being part of the pyramid, we too are responsible of the discomfort. Our goofs like inept patriotism, indiscipline, addictions, and malpractices are the ones dragging us down. People prefer mass protests than diplomatic and peaceful negotiations. Many are extravagant on their vices even though they do not have enough for their staples. Our expenses are usually more than what we earned which we blame on lower wage rates. The non-constructive commentaries are also demoralizing. Hence, the country is bearing all the burdens we cause.
Our constitution, on the other hand, is inhospitable to foreign corporations but is protector of the oligarchs. With this, the social gap widens wherein rich becomes richer while the poor goes deeper.
So what is the formula for the Philippines to prosper when we already have the resources? Should I say, an ideal president or government, a disciplined and cooperative majority, and an investor friendly constitution lead us to prosperity. The question now is – what an ideal president is. Is it correct to define it as a leader who has the willpower to discipline the citizens to liaise with the government policies and objectives, has the knack to convince the public for a constitutional change, and has the power to obliterate sloth and greed among government offices?
On our history, we got such qualities but were spread among individuals leaders. For him to win, he should be as popular as the Aquinos but for him to discipline the people, he should either bear the hands of Marcos or possess the character of Magsaysay. To persuade the public to support government agenda, he should definitely have the charisma of Magsaysay and to invite investors, he should have the skill of Arroyo. To manage the economy, Marcos’ (minus Imelda) pre-martial law performance and Arroyo’s (minus Mike) hardwork are much needed. Unfortunately, a century may not be enough to mould such individual.
In the end, we continuously make mistakes. We install our leaders then they sit (do they serve?) and start their campaign for the next elections. The process is in loop and there is no room for change.